Jul 10, 2019 01:46AM
● By Marketing SENSI MAG
On a cold winter night in early 2011, an important first was unknowingly unleashed onto the Humboldt arts and culture scene. Savage Henry Independent Times, a monthly humor mag based in Arcata, expanded its “savage” brand of humor to the live stage. Under the guise of a bit known as “So You Think You Can Funny,” the goal was to see if anyone had the gumption to try their mouth at authentic stand-up comedy. I was there that night and drank enough beer to get up there and try out some jokes. From what I can remember, the night was truly something else. There was a specific kind of excitement in the air, and unbeknownst to everyone in attendance, the comedic ball in Humboldt had just been kicked down a steep hill.
In the early years, the Savage Henry kingpins had a vision of a true NorCal comedic institution. Following that first open mic night, a sudden influx of funny people started making stops in Humboldt while on tour. Comedic momentum kept building, leading to an annual comedy festival held at various bars, hotels, record stores, and coffee shops across the county. As the years passed, the Humboldt comedy scene became even more refined, with key players organizing regular shows and comedy nights. All this funny stuff ultimately culminated in the grand opening of our very own brick-and-mortar comedy headquarters, the Savage Henry Comedy Club at 415 5th Street in Eureka.
Entering the club, the dim atmosphere is lit by a yellow glow from vintage arcade games next to the bar. Touches from old open mic night venues decorate the space, and an array of outsider folk art lines the edges of club. At the bar, patrons can choose from assorted cans of beer, movie theater-size boxes of candy, and, for the post-joint appetite, full-size packages of cookies and crackers (joints sold separately). Get your snacks, sit back on a cushy seat or couch, and get ready to chuckle.
Since Savage Henry opened last November, a vast range of shows have packed the club, from well-established touring comedians to locally produced shows by scene regulars. Locals know to show up for Jessica Grant’s exhilarating “Comedy Karaoke,” William Toblerone’s charitable yet hilarious “Bingo Eruption,” and local singer/comedienne Stephanie Knowles’ alter ego persona, Noma Steaks. Open-mic nights are still featured, along with a live podcast marathon on Monday nights, trivia nights, burlesque, and even stand-up comedy class for anyone looking to break into the expanding local comedy scene.
In just over six months in business, the comedy club has hosted touring acts like Tahoe-based comediennes Andrea B. and Sara Rooker, who killed with their special brand of stoner-snowboarder humor. Speaking of “stoner jokes,” cannabis activist and writer Ngaoi Bealum returned last February to entertain his Humboldt following with weed. And jokes. An entirely Spanish speaking show, “¡Noche de Comedia en Español!” featured both local and touring comedians, all repping their Latin American roots. And just this May, the club hosted Abdullah Saeed, former host of “Bong Appétit” and “Vice Does America” on Viceland, along with DJ Douggpound and comedian Johnny Pemberton as part of their “Weedies Tour.”
The opening of the Savage Henry Comedy Club will undoubtedly cement Humboldt County’s reputation on the map of West Coast comedy. Don’t take my word for it, go see it for yourself. You deserve a good laugh.